Child support is an important part of any care, separation, or custody agreement since it helps provide a safety net for children and their caretakers.
Raising children requires adequate financial support for housing, food, clothing, medical care, educational needs, and other basics. Additionally raising children can be expensive if you want to provide beyond necessities, such as for extracurricular activities, sports teams, hobbies, friendships, vacations and trips, eating out, and other normal extras beyond food and shelter. This offers a way of getting help for children and their caregivers.
Figuring out the amount of support and then subsequently meeting that obligation can be challenging. This is why you should consult an experienced Redwood City divorce lawyer, Bradley Bayan, for advice and assistance. At the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan, we specialize in handling cases involving child custody, visitation, and support.
If planning a divorce and have children, we can help with the divorce along with calculations for child support. Also whether you are trying to establish child support or need to modify an existing order, we can help you. Call us at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a consultation about your case.
Under California law, you have to pay until the child turns 18, or 19 if the child is unmarried and still attending high school full-time. Under special circumstances, the court may order support to continue after the child is an adult.
When you divorce with children, you and your former spouse need to work out a custody agreement that includes child support. If you are not married to your co-parent, you will both still want to establish a legal child support order to make sure that your children are getting the financial support they need.
Child support is a system where a non-caregiver parent provides the caregiver parent with financial support. A caregiver in this context means the parent who is responsible for most of the custodial care of the child or children. For example, if the mother is staying at home full-time to care for the couple’s small children while the father is working full-time, the mother is the caregiver and the father is the one providing the needed money.
Any money provided under the law is to be used to help provide for your children. In this example, the dad may pay $500 per month per child so the mom will put that money towards rent or housing payment, food to feed the children, doctor appointments, and other needed basics.
California, like most states, has a formula to determine how much should be paid per child per month. When divorcing, the lawyers can help calculate the amount of child support to be paid using this formula. For example, the formula will include things like the amount of money each parent earns (contributes), the percentage of time the children reside with each parent, and who provides health insurance.
If it is determined that you, as the primary caregiver, should receive child support on behalf of your children, it will also tell you how much they are entitled to and how much the non-caregiver parent must provide, and usually the method of payment.
As circumstances change over the years, this amount can change if the child support agreement is legally updated to reflect the changes. This is called a modification. Either parent can petition the court for modification, but lawyer Bradley Bayan can give you an idea before you decide to petition the court, what the likely outcome may be.
As children age out, the support order should include a reduction in child support. If it doesn’t, then you may need to go to court to get a new updated order. Failure to abide by a child support order because you “can’t afford it” without getting it lawfully reduced is a violation of a court order and may have consequences such as losing your driver’s license, jail time or having to pay back all missing payments.
Child support can be modified when important factors used in calculating child support change significantly. In California, the state determines child support payments using the shared income method. The total income of both parents is added together; then, the total is divided based on how parents share custody. Based on how much the state thinks it costs to raise a child per month, the amount of child support is set based on how the parents share custody.
When there is a substantial change in the situation, then one of the parents can request a modification of the child support agreement. For example, if the paying parent has a significant drop in income such as a job loss or reduction in pay, and is now struggling to pay the current ordered amount, this would be a good time to seek a modification. If after a time, a caregiver parent notices that the paying parent got a new or better-paying job, then they can request another modification to have the contributing parent pay what is determined to be appropriate. If the caregiver parent has changed their income situation, such as going back to work because the kids are in school now, this may be a reason for the modification.
Another reason may be if the children’s care and expenses increase such as if a child is diagnosed with a medical condition that results in non-insurance covered medical bills and related expenses. Or if it is decided a child is to go to a private school (parochial, private, boarding) where tuition and other expenses need to be paid by the parents.
Before you make any requests, though we recommend you consult with us to make sure that it is worth the need to go back to court.
Going through a divorce is difficult, especially when there are children involved. Child support is an effective and necessary way to ensure that the children of a marriage or relationship are properly taken care of even when the parents are not together. Even if you have children and are unmarried, you should still establish a support order so your children can count on getting your financial support and you can know money given to the caregiver parent is going towards the care of your children.
If you need a good Redwood City Divorce lawyer for custody or divorce or other family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation.